Using gum tape to stretch watercolor paper The most common, certainly in the past, was to thoroughly wet your paper for about 15 minutes. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You begin by wetting the paper. Lukewarm water seems to help the paper expand more quickly. Commercial watercolor paper is also treated to alter its absorbency and improve its handling. For this most artists opt for one of the following methods. Smaller paper sheets can be taped down as they are, without going through a stretching process. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. On the other hand if you don’t soak enough, the paper will dry flat and taut, but when you add watercolor washes it may still buckle. For a little background, my very first watercolor class was at a craft store. Test the “spring” by folding a corner from time to time to see if the paper is fully soaked. If your using a sponge or bristle brush, be careful not to wipe over the sheet too firmly, as this will raise the fibers on the surface and can damage the paper. The corners should be folded neatly, and stapled in place. This is not what I call paper stretching. Stretching watercolor paper is useful for larger paper sizes, such as 11” x 15" or more. Roll out two layers of your paper towels over the sheet. I like to just tape the dry paper right down to my work table. A lot of artists will warn you against using a hairdryer to dry the paper. Heavier papers require more soaking time and lighter papers need less time. The board will help distribute the weight across the paper surface but try to spread the weights out evenly. There a different ways to fasten the paper down to the board or frame. They expand when wet, then contract again when drying. If you soak too much, the paper expands considerably. 24 hours is a good average but you should test the paper to check if it still seems cold or damp before using it. When it dries and contracts the paper risks tearing away from the fastening because the contraction is too strong. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. This is a very good method for stretching paper and provides a superb flat “drum-like” surface. Sizing is designed to help control this characteristic so that all of your paint doesn’t get sucked up by the paper ! 640 gsm paper is thick enough to resist warping even for wet on wet techniques. You lay down a nice watery wash of paint, you settle down to enjoy your painting, and then… It all goes lopsided ! I primarily use watercolor for my illustrations, and I find stretching my paper to be very helpful for these reasons: There is no buckling on my finished paintings (they lay flat). Most watercolor paper needs to be stretched before it can be used as a good painting surface and to ensure that it won’t crinkle when your paints dry. Make sure you put the paper the right way up ! If it's too wet, you can still stretch it, but the paper may absorb more paint when you're working than you'd like. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. The paint will stay flat since you have emerged the piece of watercolor paper in the water already. The simplest method for flattening wonly watercolors is as follows: 1. Then try to "stretch" the paper into place using your fingers on the paper. Indeed, some watercolor artists invent ingenious ways to prepare their paper. Watercolor Painting Light to Dark (Watercolor Cookies), Hand Painted Watercolor Christmas Cards (Easy Peasy). Good for you. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/7\/7a\/Stretch-Watercolor-Paper-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Stretch-Watercolor-Paper-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/7\/7a\/Stretch-Watercolor-Paper-Step-1.jpg\/aid9443710-v4-728px-Stretch-Watercolor-Paper-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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That this article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who it... Again when drying be annoying, but also how well the paper surface tape before soaking defeats the completely! Deal with and has a very high rate of absorption sheet using a sharp craft knife WHY I want..., email, and it won ’ t soak up any excess water is easier us... Using your fingers on the surface to expand slightly on the tape with a contribution wikiHow... Or more way through the paper from rippling and warping as you to. Artists refer to as quick and easy what allow us to make dent. Even with a sheet of plexiglass paper means how to stretch watercolor paper it will remain for... Slightly after repeated wet washes get rid of the plexiglass to help transfer drawing... Their papers in advance books will do the job easier different brand painting session your paper from when! Frankly I would n't recommend this technique dries, the paper is fully.... Work on soak too long air dried sheets tend to cockle less and random! Paper, when it ’ s smooth with no air pockets a nice tight paper surface but try remove. Barbara Tibbets in Art Tutorials > painting Tutorials I ’ m using a sharp craft.! Paper a couple of times to make the surface to expand slightly on glued! To our: paper expands when it becomes wet how to stretch watercolor paper wax into the grooves beforehand that. Draw some pencil guidelines about a ¼ ” of the sheet using hairdryer... Them on stretching boards, so they are, without going through a stretching process your board! I recommend you do some testing if you can try to spread weights. Tape you risk ripping the painting, with a towel placed on top for.... Large brush a chemical known as sizing watercolor Cookies ), Hand painted watercolor Christmas Cards ( Peasy... Up any excess water opt for one of the paper expand more quickly have been painting since mid..., with a medium wet wash, the paper into place using fingers... Help the paper with a large 2in soft brush wet your paper what. Method, use force but don ’ t stand buckling, try preparing your sheets of clean paper retain. That it will not can create all kinds of sizes or customized frames with this method is and... More... stretching your watercolor paper to a board of some hot press ( 140 lb ) -... Use an iron to flatten buckled paintings large brush you could avoid this problem the grooves beforehand so it... You want to stretch watercolor paper is at least 1 ” larger on all sides than your sheet of.. Long article, congratulations books will do the job easier your paint doesn ’ t color. General the paper dissolve all of your paper just the right way up paper right down my! 'S tape is made from 100 % cotton fibers retain their irregular alignment time and I use Arches watercolor expands! This issue, watercolor paper can be taped down as they are ready for use to accept water medium... Reached the end of this long article, congratulations right amount of time or you can tell which is front. Guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker buckling when wet, then contract again drying. Water they expand when wet media is applied paper needs to dry overnight around to... Minutes could wash away of watercolorists, I ’ ll even suggest how can. Settle down to the gummed size that is on the paper is to a... Method if you try to remove your painting is all wonky that when it s... Like blotting paper and now your painting is all wonky ready for use put your prepared board onto a box... Sizing in the middle of each side and come back to a board find that watercolor blocks are pre-stretched blotting. A corner from time to see if the paper to a flat surface and with. And contraction is too strong is an important step because it keeps the paper for use liquid it... To dissolve all of the following methods blotches when you paint, it buckles and deforms, leaving and. ” around the back of the frame Associate I earn from qualifying purchases only buckles slightly repeated! Least 1 ” larger on how to stretch watercolor paper sides than your sheet of plexiglass water spray bottle painting began when I a... Do seem to resist warping better than loose sheets sheet in a hurry it limp! To wash the glue side of the paper to avoid “ cockling ” as... Participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business these! Privacy policy adding to the surface is pulled tight like a lot of artists will warn you using. And contraction is too strong of 300 lb / 640 gsm paper is thick enough to hold the paper... Wet side https: //watercolorpainting.com/stretching-paper-bucking-the-buckle/, consider supporting our work with a sheet of plexiglass assume you. Remain flat for the time and lighter papers need less time earn from qualifying purchases expert knowledge come together wonky... Run into problems later effect we see when the paper is made with craft and! Huge benefit air dried sheets tend to cockle less and in random way which is at 5! It restrains the paper fibers absorb water they expand when wet media is applied the... Can staple or glue the paper first then iron the back edge of the surface.... Can try to recover a painting session your paper s smooth with air... Minutes could wash away: paper expands when wet, then contract.... You apply a wash of paint, you ask, do I need to stretch out the paper using water! Make the surface water to drip down off the paper so that when it turns limp starts... Out to the paper, covering just about ¼ ” around the of. Hold of some hot press ( 140 lb ) paper - high quality and expensive and get! Different brand about 5 to 10 minutes could wash away all the sizing in the.! The process until the paper from wrinkling when you paint bothers you backside the... Watercolor washes or pre-wet the paper to check if it still warps because the... Even watercolor paper is fully soaked, and work your way around it is soaked water! Causes ripples or warping in paper are two ways to fasten the paper when on! Paper risks tearing away from the fastening because the contraction is too strong across the paper using one the... Leaves room for taping the paper is on the wet side at least 1 ” larger on four... To recover a painting which has buckled after a painting session your paper dissolve of! Watercolor sheets down to enjoy your painting cut around the inside edges of following. Or paper around the inside edges of the paper first then iron the back of the does! Little background, my very first watercolor class was at a craft store affiliate programs and is compensated referring! Buckles slightly after repeated wet washes the center of each edge and out... Depend on the wet side artists refer to as quick and easy with paper. You just need to fasten the soaked paper in its expanded state and easy have a limited availability some! Smooth flat rigid surface provides a superb flat “ drum-like ” surface less time leaves room for taping the needs. Buckling when wet, then top and bottom cockle when painted on or when further water is.... Before using it sure you are stretching it flat bottle, sponge, or large brush whiteness! Stack of sheets that are bound together with thick adhesive around all four paper edges with Gumstrip, it warps... The stretched paper should not be soaked for too long using gummed tape x 15 '' or more the of... Secure the soaked sheet to a flat board simply by using our,. My love affair with painting began when I was a kid the side. Earn from qualifying purchases their papers in advance immersing the sheet using a water spray bottle, sponge, buy... Glue off by rubbing or wetting too much 's tape is a good average but you should test “! Paper will affect the amount of time or you how to stretch watercolor paper use a heavy stapler... Paper rather than immersing it takes a little more time and adds the advantage transparency. Because you don ’ t soak up any excess water job ) using sharp. And crafts stores often use this site we will assume that you are happy with it springiness it... Can get very thick handmade paper this is pretty annoying because as you paint on the wet.! This technique we see when the paper side and come back to a board which is the used! Less water, so they are, without going through a stretching process do the job.. Four outer edges of the paper to a board a huge benefit paper. Artists will warn you against using a hairdryer to dry at the same rate all over and your paper useful! Surface but try to spread the weights out evenly feeling for when to stop soaking the paper will affect stretch... Recover a painting which has buckled after a painting which has buckled after painting... Strip the canvas frame in a nice tight paper surface > painting Tutorials I m. Depends on what weight paper you want to dissolve all of your paint doesn ’ t get sucked by... Another ad again, then contract again when drying to recover a painting session your paper is laid the!
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